Tag Archives: literature

A literary telephone box


In reading ‘Island’ by Aldous Huxley I came across the paragraph below. The speaker is talking about a ‘Mutual Adoption Club’ and comparing it to Western society. On Pala (the island the title refers to) whenever the parental home becomes too unbearable the child is allowed to migrate to one of its other homes within its MAC. A MAC consists of from 15 to 25 assorted couples and everyone in the club adopts everyone else. An inclusive, voluntary family. This is one of the good ideas of the book but there are a few hoopy ones – must have been all the drugs Huxley was taking…

Things are a great deal better in your part of the world – better, but still quite bad enough. You escape the state-appointed baby-tamers; but your society condemns you to pass your childhood in an exclusive family, with only a single set of siblings and parents. They’re foisted on you by hereditary predestination. You can’t get rid of them, can’t take a holiday from them, can’t go to anyone else for a change of moral or psychological air. It’s freedom, if you like – but freedom in a telephone box.*

*Huxley, Aldous. 2005. Island. London: Vintage, p.91.


Phone box in film and ficton

Just saw ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’. Fabulous movie by one of my favourite directors. I really do love Wes Anderson’s way of looking at the world. Anyway there is a lovely shot of a telephone box on stilts, pained with black and yellow zig-zags, in the middle of a snow covered field.

I am currently reading Morrissey’s ‘Autobiogrpahy’ and enjoying it. He has a very descriptive, evocative prose style. p. 179 says…”The realities of each northern day at the turn of the 1980s played out against a hardened backdrop in late repentance, because the north is a separate country – one of wild night landscapes of affectionate affliction. There are no known technological links apart from the telephone box on the corner, and this can always be relied upon to be out of order.”